My Mission, My Job: Making it easier for students

Published: Wednesday 2nd September 2015

Michael Dorman 

Enrolments, Fees and Scholarships National Manager Michael Dorman said consideration of the student experience is central to his effort in applying ACU’s Mission to his daily work life.

“In any process we design, and we need to keep asking, ‘How can we make this easier for students?’, while also ensuring we meet the University’s business requirements,” Michael said.

Michael was part of a group of ACU staff who recently attending the Mission Integration Institute (MII) at the University of San Diego.

For the past three years ACU has been sending staff to the MII’s program, which caters for entry-level and mid-career professional administrators in Catholic higher education and allows them to reflect on the role and Mission of a Catholic institution. 

Michael said working in a back office administrative area could be very easy to forget that we provide services to real people “not just names and numbers on a screen”. 

“To counter this we try to get involved as much as possible in student facing events, such as Open Day and Graduation Ceremonies,” he said. 

“This keeps us in touch with the fact that our students are individuals with families, hopes and aspirations.” 

Michael said another challenge was to support the Mission by designing policies and processes that respect the dignity of the human person. 

For example, when assessing applications for refunds of fees in special circumstances, his team needs to find the right balance between rules, regulations and equity and compassion. 

“Our communication must be underpinned by respect. It’s very easy to sound bureaucratic, uncaring and cold, particularly when declining an application or communicating using email templates,” Michael said. 

“We are working hard to ensure our communication is human and compassionate, particularly when we have to decline a request.” 

Michael said his team places a great deal of importance on community engagement activities to support the common good. 

“For several years our team has organised the annual Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea on the Melbourne Camps to raise funds for the Cancer Council,” he said. 

“The event honours Doreen Bonnici, who passed away in 2011. Doreen was Manager of Enrolments, Fees and Scholarships and worked at ACU for 17 years.”